We must send two messages to religious fundamentalists here and abroad. First, nonbelief is not an attack, just another point of view. Second, only club members are required to follow club rules, and most of us don't belong to your club.
Brent Thompson, Lincoln University
Nominees sought for Dilworth Award
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
As a father, lifelong public servant, community leader, football coach, and Philadelphian, I have seen the positive impact that service can have on individuals, enriching their lives with greater purpose. More importantly, public service can create a safer, cleaner, and more beautiful city for all of us.
Working for the city of Philadelphia, I see the dedicated men and women who keep this city running. I am honored to work beside them.
Last year, Mayor Nutter created the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service. It is given to an executive branch city employee whose tenure, like former Mayor Dilworth's, is characterized by hard work, integrity, and outstanding stewardship of the public trust.
I was honored last year to receive the inaugural award, and know that there are countless city employees who are equally deserving. I encourage you to think about these outstanding men and women and nominate them for the Dilworth Award. The deadline is Nov. 15, and information can be found at www.dilworthaward.org.
Carlton Williams, commissioner, Department of Licenses and Inspections, Philadelphia
Confusing ruling on voter ID
Judge Robert E. Simpson's ruling that poll workers can demand a photo ID of voters, even though one isn't required to vote, suggests that judges operate in an opaque realm that we ordinary mortals will never fathom ("Voter ID hasn't been defeated," Wednesday).
When I vote, I'm tempted to refuse to show photo ID to test the competency of the system. Of course, I might get arrested for disorderly conduct, and deny President Obama the one vote he needs to secure Pennsylvania.
I guess it's better to have confusion than outright disenfranchisement, although a clear system would be best. But then, it wouldn't be Pennsylvania, where we do things differently.
James Miles, Collingdale, firstname.lastname@example.org
Set long-term goals for education
The op-ed "Empowering Pa.'s parents" (Thursday) from Jay Ostrich of the Commonwealth Foundation is just more advertising to make sure that our children are profitable for the 1 percent. The group's website states that it is a conservative think tank dedicated to expanding privatization.
Some things are too precious to be left to "the markets," and, when the public valued education, public schools were well-funded. Destroying public education was a self-inflicted wound that took years of neglect and indifference. We have a culture that wants quick fixes, but it will take years to determine the outcome of any and all changes to education.
Setting long-term goals instead of advertising talking points would be a refreshing change. Educating children is a community responsibility, and they should not be used as pawns for profit.
Mara Obelcz, Hatfield, email@example.com
Release falsely accused Iraqi
Trudy Rubin is absolutely correct in stating that Dr. Riyadh al-Adhadh has been held in an Iraqi jail for eight months on trumped-up terrorism charges ("Innocent Iraqi's jailing poses a test for Baghdad," Thursday). Dr. Riyadh is a leading Sunni opposition leader who has been arrested by a Shiite-dominated government interested in excluding Sunnis from power.
I was employed by a pro-democracy group in Iraq and worked closely with Dr. Riyadh, who was deputy chairman of the Baghdad Provincial Council. He repeatedly called for Sunnis to participate peacefully in the political process, so the charges of terrorism are without foundation.
The U.S. goverment must press the Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to release Dr. Riyadh from jail immediately.
Lee Bowie, Jenkintown, firstname.lastname@example.org
McQueary vs. Penn State
Mike McQueary is suing Penn State ("McQueary sues PSU for loss of reputation," Wednesday)?
There is no way that I'm the only person who thinks McQueary lost his reputation the moment it was reported that he watched a child being raped and did not stop it. Instead of thinking that the right course of action was to merely "report" his observations to higher authorities, he should have first thought: Should I report it or should I stop it?
Penn State shouldn't settle. It should take this to court and repeatedly emphasize what McQueary saw and how he responded. Let's see how his reputation looks after that.
Vince Dowdle, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Honoring victim of shooting
The story "Working for Flyers, healing a loss" (Oct. 1), about a Flyers intern dedicating her work to a victim of the Colorado movie-theater massacre in July, resonated with me because my grandson, Justin, plays hockey for the Flyers (little league) Blazers, and because we have family in Colorado.
The wonderful way that intern Danielle Maslany has helped the family of Jessica Redfield shows that she is truly making something worthwhile of her opportunity.
Jane E Miller, Mount Laurel
The other Wilder brother
The story on Moorestown's connection to Thornton Wilder focused on the playwright being the best man at the wedding of his brother Amos to Catherine Kerlin, a Moorestown resident ("'Our Town' in N.J.," Monday). But the groom in the story was once again left in Thornton's shadow, passed off with a brief identity as "a Bible scholar, poet, and literary critic."
Not to take away from Thornton's fame, but Amos should also be recognized. He did graduate studies at European and English universities, and received degrees at Yale and Harvard before becoming a professor at a succession of seminaries, most notably Harvard Divinity School. He became a renowned New Testament scholar, with his analysis of the oral forms and modes of speech in the New Testament opening up a whole new approach for literary and interpretive studies by New Testament scholars.
Amos also occupies a unique position in American literary history, combining the vocations of poet and scholar, pastor, and critic. He saw the connections between the Bible and literature, religion and ethics, religious experience and contemporary symbols. More recently, just now being recognized is Amos' influence upon his brother's evolving religious ideas, as found in Thornton's many works.
Praise Thornton but also give Amos his due!
Theodore S. Horvath, Wayne